EGAM is sustaining its efforts to take part in the grassroots actions in favour of the welcome of the refugees in Europe! In May, it supported a donation campaign held by a group of young citizens of Hénin-Beaumont, determined to help the refugees living one hundred kilometres away, in Calais. While Hénin-Beaumont elected in 2014 a leader of the far-right party Front National as new mayor, citizens are getting involved to make values of solidarity and equality as present as possible in public space. In addition to political and logistical support, the whole coordination staff of EGAM joined the local activists on May 28 and 29 to bring the donations to the association l’Auberge des Migrants/Help Refugees and to volunteer in its warehouse.
EGAM’s and Hénin-Beaumont’s activists joined the dozens of international volunteers to sort and pack clothes, check tents, prepare meals, cut off pallets to make firewood… More than 3,500 refugees are still living in the so-called “Jungle” of Calais, in spite of the eviction of a large part of the unofficial camp led by the French state in March. There are twenty different nationalities in the Calais refugee community, including Afghans, Sudanese, Eritreans, Ethiopians, Pakistanis, Syrians, Iranians and Iraqi Kurds. The refusal of the government of the United Kingdom to welcome more refugees and the inadequate policies of the French government (evictions) force the migrants to live in a highly precarious situation. Therefore, their survival relies to a large extent on the support of local NGOs.
In March a first collection of donations had been held. A delegation of young European activists invited by EGAM to the training seminar/film festival Sarajevo-sur-Seine spent two days in Hénin-Beaumont and Calais to meet and support the local volunteers and the refugees. In return, Hénin-Beaumont’s activists joined their European counterparts in Paris to take part together in Sarajevo-sur-Seine Film Festival. EGAM’s next training session of young leaders will take place on August 12-20 upon Sarajevo Film Festival, in Bosnia-Herzegovina.